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Showing posts from February, 2011

New Map of Europe?

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On the baptism of Muslims

As many of you know, I really enjoy reading St Francis Magazine. Yes, yes, I have published articles there in numerous occasions, but that is not the only reason why I like it.

I was looking over some older articles and I ran across this one by one Azar Ajaj, a Palestinian (ethnicity) Israeli (citizenship) evangelical (spirituality). I thought his article on the topic of Muslims seeking baptism was really good.

I especially enjoyed his explanation of how people from an Arab-Islamic background understand what they are asking for:

I want to pause for a moment here, and try to explore the meaning of baptism for a person coming specifically from Islam. For many people in the west, Islam is seen only as a religion. But as a person who has lived among Muslims for more than forty years, I can say that Islam is much more than that; it is described as ‘the best nation’, or khayra ummah in Arabic (Quran 3:110). Muslims consider themselves as a nation, a family with similar traditions and points …

Feb 21, 2011: More reflections on the Middle East

The developments in Egypt, and now Libya are really unprecedented. There was no way for anyone to expect this.

Well, let me qualify that. It has been known for some time that there was a demographic time bomb in many of these countries. You have several factors combining to create instability and revolution: a large population of young males who are largely a) unemployed, and b) unmarried. This always leads to instability, and now we have seen that boil to the surface, though, like I said, no one saw it coming right now and in this form.

In some ways, the self-immolation of the young Tunisian fruit-vender is what occasioned this whole series of revolutions. It is one of those small, obscure acts that parlayed itself into something much larger, like the assassination of a certain arch-duke.

But the real question is what does the future hold? A couple of points follow.

1) The Western press often stresses that the movements in Egypt and Tunisia had a lot of 'modern' or 'secular&…